On the downside, however, expired Li-ion batteries are also difficult to dispose of, with their potentially toxic content and the complex methods required for their recycling. Researchers at Uppsala University's Ångström Laboratory think that they may have a solution: combine the salvaged remnants of a Li-ion battery with completely organic materials derived from alfalfa and pine resin, to create a recycled biomaterial Li-ion hybrid battery.
Current Li-ion battery production relies on huge quantities of lithium, the future mining of which may be limited. Additionally, after these batteries have reached the end of their useful life, it is very difficult to recover the lithium from the inorganic materials used to make them in the first place.
To help address these problems, Sweden's Uppsala University has developed a technique to extract the lithium from spent batteries and combine this with renewable biological material, to create a battery with a similar energy capacity to that of ordinary Li-ion batteries.